Prof. Nevzat Tarhan: “Ideal teacher is the one who speaks to hearts not just to minds”

President of Üsküdar University, Psychiatrist Prof. Nevzat Tarhan made remarks in the event held by İstanbul Gönüllü Eğitimciler Derneği -İGEDER (İstanbul Voluntary Educators Foundation) which educators showed great interest.  Tarhan made prominent remarks on new education methods in the light of 21st century skills. Tarhan stated that learning methods which combine mind and emotions together, provide a permanent learning and said when a teacher speaks to student’s hearts instead of just their minds, it makes the learning permanent. Tarhan said: “Brain records it permanently when emotions are involved. Educators, please do not try only to enter into minds, brains of your students; however, try to speak to their hearts. Ideal teacher is the one who speaks to hearts, not just to minds.”.

“Before the pandemic, that many adolescents have never been hospitalized”

Indicating that they foresee that post-pandemic disorders will increase after the pandemic, Tarhan emphasized that the age group that has been affected the most by the pandemic is young people in their adolescence period. Tarhan said: “We always warned that post-pandemic psychiatric disorders can increase around the world after the pandemic is over. Indeed, psychiatric disorders have increased after the pandemic.  Now, there is a twenty percent of increase in the psychiatric disorders around the world, however, the biggest impact was on the adolescents.  We were expecting to see the biggest impact on the advanced group, however, advanced age group stayed stronger and more endured it. Before the pandemic, there were no period that we have never hospitalized that many adolescents before.  Since hospitals have been opened after the pandemic, almost all of a clinic is reserved for adolescents for the first time. Disorders have become to be seen in adolescents in that level. That is, schools were affected, it was a socializing period for them. I have look at it in the literature, especially suicide rate in adolescents in America has increased. Adolescence is a period when the questions such as ‘who am I, where should I lean to, why do I exist?’ are being asked and socializing and friend circle become more important than family. In especially adolescence period, smart phones have become their only communication tool during COVID-19.  Moreover, those children faced with mental disorders especially if there is no peace at their home. If they have a warm environment at their home, a healthy relationship, they were not affected that much.”.

“Teachers must guide the students and be a harbor pilot for them”

Emphasizing that teachers must guide the youth to learn life, Tarhan stated that we must tolerate the mistakes done during the adolescence period.  Tarhan said: “Teacher profession is a profession for a teacher while a teacher is like a life guide for a student. Being a teacher is more important in primary school. They listen an expert person in other schools too. Here, students take three things of a teacher as example. One of them is the lesson they teach, the other one is their characteristic qualities, that is, they take their character as example and lastly social relationships. When a teacher enters a classroom, they are in charge in the management of the class. The psychological dominance of the class is the teacher. Adolescence is a period when the questions such as ‘who am I, where should I lean to, why do I exist?’ are being asked and even it is called as ‘normal schizophrenic period’ in our books. That means there will be sudden outbursts, behaviors or many mistakes of an adolescent. They are doing this to try to live life. Social skills are acquired in that way. Even, when I was describing this as a normal schizophrenic period one of my fellow reminded me this Hadith: ‘Adolescence is another branch of madness.’ says our Prophet. That is, it is quite interesting that it means to tolerate the mistakes of adolescents by describing it as a branch of a mental disorder. They will do that mistake and then they will test and learn the life according to their reaction and reaction of their teacher.  That’s why, we call it walking together instead of fixing them. This is the leadership. That is, teachers will be guides. This applies to the parents, as well. So, what is harbor pilot? A captain navigates the ship. They are responsible.  A harbor pilot suggests and says if you do this, it will be better. They teach the life. Parents or teachers will be harbor pilot.”.

 “Ideal teacher is the one who speaks to hearts”

Recording that learning methods which combine mind and emotions together, provide a permanent learning, Tarhan expressed that a teacher must speak to hearts of students and not just into minds, in this way, it makes learning permanent. Tarhan said: “On the top of the learning pyramid, what student heard takes place only.  You hear it during the class, you listen but then you will forget it later. Towards second rows of the learning pyramid, there is understanding from what you hear. What you understand become more permanent but you will forget it if you do not repeat it. However, there are things that a person feels and experience. A person never forgets those.  There is even no need to repeat them. When emotions are involved, brain records it automatically. That’s why, educators please do not try to speak to minds of your students but try to speak to their hearts. An ideal teacher does not speak to minds, speak to hearts. When you speak to hearts of your students, a teacher is the hero of that students now. They record everything their teacher says. The best kind of mastership is to be a good role model. It benefits a lot for the children that they love their teacher. If they like the teacher, they like the class, as well. They learn it easier. What should a teacher do to make students like the class? A teacher must like their students, too. When a teacher liker their students, students also like the lesson, they like the teacher and they learn.”.

“A teacher must be an assuring leader, not frightening”

Suggesting to educators that they used use a teaching method that is assuring rather than frightening, Tarhan emphasized that convincing and endearing methods are more suitable to 21st century. Tarhan said: “A teacher is the leader of a classroom. The best kind of leadership will be an emotional one. When love multiplies, fear decreases and trust increases.  There is a silent discipline in where there is fear. When there is no teacher, all of that crumbles and will be gone. That is, education was enabled with oppression, threats, frightening and intimidation in older cultures. Well, that methods are now neither ideal or method of this age. It is not a part of 21st century skills either.  In this age, you cannot teach anybody the truth by frightening them. You perform a force somebody who cannot understand by verbal communication in savage tribes.  Well, that is, the best method of teach in a classroom is to make student question in a Socratic way. In Socratic questioning, a topic is suggested. This can be a social matter. What does everyone say on this? This is the best method. A mathematician says that I owe this Nobel for Mathematics to my mother. They ask what the role of your mother was. My mother always asked me what you asked to your teacher. So, that leaded me to question myself to ask the right questions.  That helped me to acquire skills of questioning. After questioning, brain enters into an incubation period and catches, brings out new ideas. This happen in a brain that questions, imagines.”.

“We must also activate the feeling brain of the children, not only their thinking brain” 

Tarhan said: “That is why you should assure the youth, you should be a model for them. You are assured that the biggest investment you can do for the children is not the information told, is to value them. It is that they feel valued. It is necessary to understand the real reason by talking to the children when they experience a problem. If a teacher throws a piece of chalk, or throws something to their head and says why you are daydreaming, the child will not learn anything; however, if the teacher approaches the students and asks why they are quite and says ‘you are usually not like this, is everything okay?’, the child will feel the attachment. Even, there is also a leadership about that.  In sheepherding, if a shepherd is a real leader, they would understand which sheep is sick or which one is weak easily. If there are any sheep limping, the shepherd would treat it. That is the leadership.  Well, if you have the management of the class, make sure that this will be the biggest investment in the youth when you do this. It is more important than anything to prepare the youth entrusted to us for life.  All of these are emotional intelligence work. That is, the role of logical intelligence is 20% in success but other multiple intelligence types have an 80% role. Especially emotional intelligence and social intelligence have an 80% role. Twenty percent is just information transfer; however, emotion and behavior transfer and being a role mode is eighty percent of it. That is why, we must also activate the feeling brain of the children, not only their thinking brain. Our ancestors called this as the unity of mind and heart.”.

“The term of superior intelligence or highly gifted children is wrong!”

Tarhan said: “Science and Art Center (BİLSEM) has excellent events. One of the 21st skills is to teach social and emotional skills besides technical and academic skills to children. Now, BİLSEMs pay attention greatly to that. For example, we use one word instead of four words in Ottoman Turkish. For example, discovery is something else, invention is something else, to swear is something else and construction is something different. In these school, many excellent studies and works are being carried out to find discovery features in humans. There is no need to an artificial force to enter these schools. Now, we do not use the terms of superior intelligence or highly gifted. If there are ones who use those terms, that means they see it as something commercial. We call it as children with special ability and some of the children are in the higher point of the curve. And, there are also those who are below the curve. There are also those on the top, in the 2%- 3% piece.  There are children with special abilities. These children with special abilities are educated in a wrong way. Other children also are wasted if they do not receive a special education.  Those children do not feel comfortable among other average students in the class. They inflate their own ego when you call them my child is highly gifted. In that way, they only focus on academic success, only on technical subjects. Regarding this topic, a pile of genius features is formed in the brain, however, they are terrible socially. For example, they cannot have a good marriage, they are lack of cooperation and social skills. That’s why, these children must receive an education where academic skills, emotional skills and social skills are combined. Otherwise, these intelligences are wasted because human is a relational creature. Humans are not created to live on their own.  A human has the need of psychological attachment. They feel safe when they attach to something and socialize. If you put a person in an island, they cannot live alone there.”.

Üsküdar University is Pioneer of science festivals in Türkiye”

Mentioning the importance of studies and works in the field of science and culture Tarhan emphasized the importance of science festivals and said: “When we, as Üsküdar University, have started Science and Idea Festival, there was no university in Türkiye that had this festival. Only one university in the world had this festival. We are still carrying out this festival in cooperation with Provincial Directorate for National Education and hopefully we will 9th of this festival this year. The idea of this project later transformed into TECHNOFEST. The idea of that project belongs to us. We carried out government correspondence and even we suggested that all of the schools must hold this festival, as well. When the President of TÜBİTAK visited us, we expressed that TECHNOFEST is such a well-done festival and we also launched it in 2012, which we have started together with İstanbul Provincial Directorate for National Education. There is a festival for tomato, however, there is none for science. New learning methods happen with this kind of festivals. That is why, we created a Science and Idea Festival and then it become TECHNOFEST.  We do not demand copyright but at least we now remind that it was our idea on this opportunity. These are excellent works.”.

Üsküdar News Agency (ÜNA)